Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

January 1, 2010

Feliz Navidad y Feliz Año Nuevo! Wow, its 2010 today. Anyway, it was great being able to see and talk to you on Christmas. I love you all and I hope you had an awesome Christmas, Dad's Birthday, and New Years.

On December 23, we had a Multi-Zone Christmas "Activity". Usually when they say "activity" it means "activity" but this time it meant a long Christmas Capacitation or Zone Conference. At the end we ate a large lunch. I also recieved my new Mini-missionary comp, Elder Brenes (also from Costa Rica). Elder Cervantes stayed with us that day and night so I was with two tico mini-missionaries. It was pretty crazy.

On Christmas Eve we packed all the presents we had bought for people and the ones you sent in the package. I was stressed all week trying to think of who to give presents to and what to give. We didn't have much time to prepare those things. We bought a sweet bike for recent convert Johan and his sister Genesis. We had overheard that one of them wanted a bike for Christmas (couldn't remember which) but their parents weren't going to be able to buy them anything for Christmas, so we decided that would be awesome to give them. We had been looking for the right bike all week but couldn't find one the right size for them. All the bikes were already taken in all the stores and I thought we weren't going to be able to get one. But on the 22nd at night while we were rushing home I saw the perfect bike in front of a store, so we rushed over and bought it and went home happily relieved. On the 23rd in the night we called a taxi and set everything up so that the taxista would drop off the bike and not tell them who it was from, but when we got to the house, Jessica and Norberto and Fam weren't home so we went home. Mission failed! But on the 24th in the morning we tried it again. We watched from the bushes about 200 m away as the taxista knocked on their gate to give them the bike. At first Jessica wouldn't come out so we called her and told her to come outside with a disguised voice. Even though Elder Cervantes fake voice was pathetic, she came out and we saw her and her kids happily take the bike. It was awesome. *Ü*
At about noon, Elder Cervantes's mom came to pick him up and take him home. That was weird. The rest of the day Elder Brenes and I worked like normal, without much success, until the night. Then we went to Patricia's house to go with them to her brother Pablo's house. Pablo is an inactive member. When we got to Patricia's house however, we found out she was getting her hair done, so we sat and waited. After waiting for like 1 hour and a half, we decided just to go to Pablo's house. We ate some food and Pablo's sons birthday cake and ice cream. Patricia finally showed up and soon after, we had to go home.

On Christmas morning I tried to call home many times without success. After awhile we just left and started visiting people. We went to Gladys and Itzas house and threw Daniels secret present on the Balcony. We gave him two of those toys you sent in the package. The robot ball that comes with a magnetic card and open up into a robot. Daniel really liked them because when we came back later his mom said of all the things he got he only played with those even though they didn't even know who they were from.*Ü* After some failed attempts of throwing the package on the balcony and finally succeeding we walked over to Daniela and Lucrecias house to give them presents. I gave them some teddy bears that light up in the dark and gave their family a Toblerone to share. After that we went to Jessica, Norberto, Johan and Genesis house and gave Johan the other two robot things and gave Genesis the two fairy dolls you sent. We gave Norberto and Jessica a Toblerone. Next we went to Hna Adilias house and spent some time with Hna Adilia and her grown kids Huskell, Gendry, another daughter (don't know), and Caprina (17). We ate tamales with them and put together a puzzle. I also gave them a Toblerone. Then we went to Hna Patricias house and gave them some small bears and light up glasses to her son Aaron (he loves glasses, he tried to steal mine) After that we went back to our apartment and kept trying to call, with no success. After talking with Hna Patricia we set up the whole Skype thing and obviously thats when we went back to Hna Patrticias house and talked with all of you. It was pretty crazy day. And if you remember, I did all of this in sandals, mind you.

After that we went home got all cleaned up and met President Galvez at the Stadium (Palacio de Los Deportes). We went and did Elba's interview and got everything ready for the baptism. President agreed Elba is an "escojida" and the interview went great. He also checked our apartment (Luckily we had cleaned it the night before). After he went home we finished the baptismal preparations. It was a pretty sweet Christmas. During the week we also gave Itza's family a card game and a Toblerone. We gave Hna Gladys a Toblerone as well. We bought David a little model Lamborgini car. Also gave Bryan, Ray, and Carmen a Toblerone and Hna Adriana Perez, Marcelo, and Gabriel a Toblerone as well. We gave the Bishop, you guessed it, a Toblerone too.*Ü* They sell Toblerones in Hypermas. By the way we gave Norma, Jerson, and James a Toblerone as well. I think thats it. I would have liked to have bought more and given more but I had a lot of other things to worry about. Its been a crazy time of year.

On Saturday, we had Elba's baptism. Like always, everyone showed up late, but the baptism was still awesome. The bishop baptized Elba. She did bend her knees but started going forward instead of laying back under the water. The bishop pulled her back and was able to put her immerse her and she was baptized. Elba is a really awesome lady and is going to be a strong member. She keeps reading and studying the Book of Mormon every day and is really happy about her decision to be baptized.

The rest of the week was pretty crazy as well. The AP's (Elder Lee and Elder Rogler) came and did divisions with us, we went to visit Ada Luz, mother of Jesenia, a member who just moved here from Nicaragua but she got out of work late so we went and taught Lucrecias mom Esmeralda. Then we went back to Ada Luz. The Aps left after meeting her and we then invited her to be baptized the 16th of this month. She is still unsure even though she says she knows its true. Right now we are out of really good investigators. This time of year its been hard to get people to listen because everyone is so "busy" Sometimes when we read about people who could not see the Savior for who He was, we marvel at their blindness. But do we also let distractions obstruct our view of the Savior—during this Christmas season and throughout the year? Some are external distractions—the gifts we worry about, the decorations, or the clamorous advertising—but often it is what is inside us that blinds us from seeing the Christ. ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Yesterday, we went around trying to find investigators and inactive recent converts with the Lider Misional Abraham (who came back from his mission in Honduras 7 months ago). Then we ate at Abrahams house, went to Daniela and Lucrecias house, a finished the night at Itza's house. Our neigbors made sure we were part of the New Year's fun by blasting their music all night so it was pretty sweet.

Today is Friday and P-day. On Monday is P-day so ill answer the questions you had then. By the way i marked a year in the mission on December 17th. Im going to try to send home pictures and respond to letters today. Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!